|Publication number||US6879289 B2|
|Application number||US 10/475,578|
|Publication date||Apr 12, 2005|
|Filing date||Apr 26, 2002|
|Priority date||Apr 26, 2001|
|Also published as||DE60220902D1, EP1384284A1, EP1384284B1, US20040130491, WO2002089250A1|
|Publication number||10475578, 475578, PCT/2002/1925, PCT/GB/2/001925, PCT/GB/2/01925, PCT/GB/2002/001925, PCT/GB/2002/01925, PCT/GB2/001925, PCT/GB2/01925, PCT/GB2001925, PCT/GB2002/001925, PCT/GB2002/01925, PCT/GB2002001925, PCT/GB200201925, PCT/GB201925, US 6879289 B2, US 6879289B2, US-B2-6879289, US6879289 B2, US6879289B2|
|Original Assignee||Plasma Antennas, Ltd.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (13), Non-Patent Citations (1), Referenced by (18), Classifications (21), Legal Events (3)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This invention relates to apparatus for providing a controllable signal delay along a transmission line. The apparatus enables the adaptive control of the propagation velocity of electromagnetic radiation through a composite transmission line structure.
Electromagnetic radiation may be confined and directed effectively by means of known transmission line structures such for example as microstrip structures. The transmission line structures generally have a narrow conducting strip or strips separated from a larger ground plane by an intermediate dielectric medium. The electromagnetic propagation characteristics are determined by the physical dimension of the conducting strip or strips, and the thickness and electrical properties of the dielectric medium. The propagation velocity along the transmission line structure, for example the microstrip, is determined not only by the geometry of the transmission line structure, but also by the influence of any elements that may be electromagnetically coupled periodically to the transmission line. Conventionally, propagation delay may be controlled incrementally through the incorporation of extended lengths of line, typically in coiled or meander form. The overall propagation delay is determined through switches to direct the passage of propagated energy along selected lines.
It is known that intrinsic semiconductor materials may be doped with impurities to produce materials having precisely controlled conductivity. Light of sufficiently short wavelengths, as may be determined by the bandgap characteristic of the semiconductor material may be used locally to increase the density of free carriers and then the conductivity in the semiconductors. It is known that the intensity of an optical illumination changes the complex refractive index of semiconductors. Altematively, known PIN semiconductor structures may also be used to inject electrical carriers into a semiconductor medium to create a pattern of localized regions of high carrier density.
The present invention provides in one non-limiting embodiment apparatus for providing a controllable signal delay along a transmission line, which apparatus comprises a transmission line conductor on a dielectric medium comprised wholly or partially of a semiconductor material, and adjacent periodically separated electromagnetically-coupled elements, the coupling between the elements and the transmission line conductor being controllable through photon and/or electrical injection of electrical carriers into the dielectric medium, whereby the apparatus is such as to enable control of the velocity of electromagnetic propagation along the transmission line and thereby through the apparatus.
The present invention advantageously enables delay to be progressively controlled through localized optical and/or electrical stimulation of the dielectric medium placed in or around a ground plane.
In the present invention, optical illumination means and/or electrical current injection means may be used to increase locally the carrier density within a semiconductor volume, thereby to produce a conducting plasma. The plasma is able to be well confined to the volume acted upon. The plasma is able to distinguish rapidly in the absence of the activation, that is the illumination or the electrical bias.
The locally defined plasma may be used firstly to make a hitherto insulating semiconducting medium into a conducting medium, and secondly to provide a selected electromagnetic feed to an electric dipole or similar electromagnetic element within the semiconducting medium.
The apparatus is preferably one in which the transmission line conductor is a microstrip conductor. The microstrip conductor may have a structure comprising a thin metallic guide separated from a ground plane by the dielectric medium.
Alternatively, the transmission line conductor may be an image line conductor, a fin line conductor, a slot line conductor, a co-planer waveguide conductor, an inverted microstrip conductor, a trapped inverted microstrip conductor, or a suspended strip line conductor. Other types of transmission line conductors may be employed if desired. Generally, the dielectric medium may be comprised wholly or partially of the semiconductor material. Thus the dielectric medium may be a composite structure which includes the semiconductor material.
The apparatus of the present invention may typically comprise a basic microstrip line with periodic coupling to non-resonant adjacent structures. These adjacent structures or elements may be, for example, slots in the ground plane, or other such forms. The apparatus of the present invention allows the degree of coupling to the adjacent elements to be dynamically controlled, thereby enabling the apparatus to act as a continuously variable microwave slow wave structure.
Preferably, the coupled elements are configured as arrays of slots or other such forms. The coupled elements may be in a pattern which is such as to produce a controllable electromagnetic band-stop or band-pass filter.
The apparatus may be used to excite an array of antenna elements, thereby enabling controllable directivity of the array of antenna elements. The coupling to the antenna elements may be enabled through locally generated filamentary plasmas. The apparatus may include optical means and/or electrical means for generating locally generated filamentary plasma. The optical means may illuminate the dielectric medium. The electrical means may inject electrical carriers into the semiconductor dielectric medium.
The electromagnetic polarisation of the antenna may be selectable through control of the coupling to the antenna elements.
The apparatus may be incorporated within a multiplicity of antenna sub-arrays, the collective effect of the sub-arrays enabling complex controllable antenna functionality.
The apparatus may be designed by calculation of geometry and material properties to perform in specific applications relating to telecommunications, radar, guidance, aerospace, medical scanning, inspection or other forms of sub-surface imaging.
Embodiments of the invention will now be described solely by way of example and with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:
The essence of the present invention is to modify in shape or permittivity the above mentioned patterned electromagnetic structures through the localised injection of carriers within a dielectric medium comprised wholly or partially of semiconducting material. The electromagnetic shape or influence of these carriers may be controlled by photon and/or electrical means for varying the localised carrier density within the semiconductor medium. Typical examples of suitable semiconductor materials include doped single elements such as silicon or germanium, or compound semiconductors including binary elements such for example as gallium arsenide and indium phosphide, or known tertiary compounds such for example as gallium aluminum arsenide. Furthermore, large area and low cost dielectric media may be realised through amorphous semiconductor material.
Referring now to
Referring now to
In the above description with reference to FIG. 1 and
Combinations of patch arrays based upon the present invention may be used in particular applications such for example as guidance radars. The concept is illustrated in
It will be appreciated from the description of the invention with reference to the accompanying drawings that the present invention is able to provide a microwave delay line with photon and/or electrical control of the velocity of propagation of an electromagnetic signal. Such apparatus lends itself to wide implementation, for example to the implementation of a dynamically steerable antenna through adjustment of the relative phase or time of excitation of constituent elements of the antenna. Generally, the apparatus of the invention may be used in adaptable resonators, filters, antennas, and other active and passive components. The apparatus may be used in a compact and monolithic form. The apparatus may be used in applications such for example as medical scanning, product inspection, collision avoidance radar, vehicle telematics, security and parameter protection, positioning and landing systems, telecommunications, aerospace systems, satellite communications, and mobile telephony.
It is to be appreciated that the embodiments of the invention described above with reference to the accompanying drawings have been given by way of example only and that modifications may be effected. Descriptions and details of well known components and techniques have generally not been described, unless they were required for further clarification of the construction and operation of the apparatus of the present invention. The apparatus of the present invention may be incorporated within systems of both flat or curved topology, and is thereby applicable to conformal structures.
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|U.S. Classification||343/700.0MS, 343/909, 333/161, 385/14, 343/770|
|International Classification||H01Q13/08, H01Q3/26, H01Q1/36, H01Q3/44|
|Cooperative Classification||H01Q13/085, H01Q3/44, H01Q3/2676, H01Q1/366, H01Q3/2682, H01P1/2005|
|European Classification||H01P1/20C, H01Q13/08B, H01Q3/26T, H01Q1/36C1, H01Q3/44, H01Q3/26G|
|Oct 23, 2003||AS||Assignment|
|Oct 6, 2008||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Oct 5, 2012||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8